Naomi Osaka Australian Open 2022

Naomi Osaka return to top would be ‘great’ for tennis, says legend

Grand Slam legend Martina Navratilova says it would be ‘great’ for tennis if Naomi Osaka could get her career back on track.

Osaka has not played since September 2022 after stepping away from tennis to become a mother.

By that time, she was already starting to struggle a little, though, with her experiencing mental health struggles surrounding anxiety.

She is already plotting her return to the WTA though and has recently stepped up her practice, and the four-time major winner has confirmed she will make her comeback in Brisbane in January.

That is music to Navratilova’s ears, and she says women’s tennis can only be stronger with Osaka at her best.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing how this all unfolds,” Navratilova told the WTA.

“After the layoff, it’s going to take her time to get her match legs underneath her, the confidence flowing again. I just hope that she takes it slower, rather than too fast.

“I’m thinking by Indian Wells, early March, she’ll be back in the mix, back to being her amazing self.

“She won the title there in 2018. It would be great for the sport to see her back at the top.”

What are Naomi Osaka’s comeback plans?

It would be fair to say that Naomi Osaka is returning to tennis with some lofty ambitions. She has set her sights on the Australian Open and will be in the draw as long as she steers clear of injury.

In that sense, Brisbane will serve as an important part of her preparation.

“I am really excited about getting back out on court and competing,” Osaka said. “I always love starting my season in Brisbane and can’t wait to return.

“The Brisbane International is such a great tournament and will set me up for a brilliant comeback this summer.”

She isn’t coming back just to make up the numbers either, according to her performance coach Florian Zitzelsberger.

“Where she is today is what makes working with her so inspiring,” Florian Zitzelsberger said. “She wants to get back to world No. 1, she wants to win Grand Slams.

“She gives me the impression of someone who is totally balanced and happy with herself. She’s very much grounded, mature and embracing the beauty of motherhood.”

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Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.